Essential Tips for Creating Engaging Virtual Instructor Led Training

08/12/2021 9:56 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

This is a new era of learning, where we can take learning to the next level. Good virtual instructor led training combines collaborative meeting technology with instructional design to offer learners a convenient and interactive way of learning.

This technology also helps organizations train their employees in a more cost-effective manner as they can hire just one or two instructors for an entire company, instead of sending each employee across the world for training.

The advantages of virtual instructor led training are:

  1. Training takes place at the organization's office premises.
  2. Trainees are able to learn in a collaborative environment with other trainees dispersed around the nation, or globe.
  3. The equipment is cheaper than travelling for distant trainings and presentations require less space for video projection

However, this type of training is not without its traps and pitfalls. The design for virtual instructor led training cannot be the same as an in-person instructor led training, yet many is the course that is little more than a slide deck with a talking head to one side. How do you avoid these pitfalls and create an engaging VILT that enhances learning retention? Here are a few tips to explore:

1. Give Participants a Reason to Care About Your Course

As the motivation legend Zig Ziglar says, "Everyone listens to the radio station WIIFM, 'What's In It For Me.'" This is true for all training, and is exceptionally important for virtual instructor led training. Why? People are on a device that has within its circuitry the distractions of a world around them. If not the email with the latest problem to be solved, then the innocuous social media post that leads them into a daisy chain of cat videos.

Should you start the course by clearly stating what you believe is a strong WIIFM? No. Virtual Instructor Led Training exists in a more collaborative environment. Ask questions to elicit what your learners believe their WIIFM is, then tie the WIIFM you uncovered in your needs analysis to their contributions as a means of reinforcing and reaffirming their reasons for joining.

2. Build in Interactivity With the Learning Content

Interactive content can help learners retain more information, and be more engaged in the learning process.

Many virtual instructor led platforms provide a variety of tools to prompt audience response. Commonly found are polls, chat, screen sharing, and whiteboards. Many platforms offer annotation tools for participants to mark on the screen. Most also offer breakout rooms, opportunities to split the students into multiple, smaller, web conferences for more focused discussions.

Each of these tools provides an opportunity for learners to interact — either with you, or each other.

Using a variety of those tools throughout the course will undoubtedly keep learners active, but will they keep them engaged?

3. Ask "why" when implementing interactive content & technology.

As with any instructional design, asking “why” when implementing a webinar tool is critical to ensuring the activity engages the learners.

Why does a poll support a learning objective?

Why will a learner benefit from sharing a screen? Or typing something in the chat box?

The answers will help you understand the purpose of each interaction. In reality, you’re looking for the “WIIFM” again.

4. Think holistically.

Don’t let your virtual interactions stand alone. Use the poll you created at the beginning of a training session as a jumping off point for a brainstorming session. That brainstorming session can lead to the creation of an action plan, so learners have something to walk away with.

As each online interaction builds upon the other, they create reasons for learners to engage more fully in the process.

Gather More Tips With The Total Virtual Trainer

This year, ATD-Orange County is adding to their Total Trainer Curricula with a program on focusing on the design and facilitation of Virtual Instructor Led Training. Participants will improve their ability to design and lead engaging and interactive virtual training sessions that provide a deeper processing experience for their learners than standard webinars which mostly consist of a talking head and PowerPoint slides.

  • If you’ve never led a webinar or VILT and would like to learn to do so.

  • If you lead webinars that are basically informational and would like to learn to lead more engaging and interactive training sessions

  • If you’re already leading VILT sessions and want to “sharpen the saw"

You’ll want to join us!

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